Colts’ sign Nyheim Hines to $18.6 million extension

Sports

This is a photo of Nyheim Hines of the Indianapolis Colts NFL football team. This image reflects the Indianapolis Colts active roster as of Friday, June 25, 2021. (AP Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Ballard continues to lock up his own.

Nyheim Hines, the Indianapolis Colts’ versatile running back, has agreed to a three-year, $18.6 million extension that includes $12 million in guarantees, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

ESPN’s Field Yates was first to report the extension, through Hines’ agents Jeremy Appledorf and Ed Wasielewski.

Hines is the latest of the Colts’ breakthrough 2018 draft class to be given an extension. Previously, Ballard signed linebacker Darius Leonard to a five-year, $99.25 million extension with $52.5 million guaranteed and right tackle Braden Smith to a four-year, $72.4 million extension with $42 million in guarantees.

Leonard and Smith were second-round picks in ’18 while Hines was a fourth-round selection.

Another member of the Class of 2018, left guard Quenton Nelson, is expected to receive a massive extension next offseason. The team’s first-round pick is a three-time first-team All-Pro.

Hines’ $6.2 million average per year ranks 11th in the NFL among running backs and is the best among non-feature backs.

Since 2018, he’s been a multi-purpose weapon in Frank Reich’s offense.

Hines has rushed 226 times for 893 yards and seven touchdowns and caught 170 passes for 1,227 yards and another six TDs. The 170 receptions are the most by a Colts’ running back in his first three seasons and tied for the fourth-most by any player.

He also established himself as one of the NFL’s top punt returners in 2019. Hines set franchise records with 195 yards and two touchdowns against the Carolina Panthers.

The main question in 2021 is how Reich and coordinator Marcus Brady will maximize Hines’ skills on offense.

“That was one of the questions that came up in the offseason as we looked at the film and said this guy, when the ball is in his hands, he just makes plays,’’ Brady said. “He’s very talented. You can tell the game has slowed down to him so he looks much faster when you’re watching him.

“He’s definitely one of many weapons that we have to make sure he’s involved week-in and week-out.’’

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